Trip 4: day 2 reunion

He was over an hour late. I kid you not.

He had warned me the day before that there were issues at work and I was aware of the possibility that I may have to wait for him.

When I landed, over-brimming with excitement, I sent him a picture of the airport from the aeroplane window. Within moments he told me he had just got out and would be there within 30 to 40 minutes.

Knowing that his time is not like UK time, I expected him in an hour. I waited in the airport for that hour but as the place emptied – it is small despite being international – I started to feel uncomfortable and a little sad. Why could he have not made the effort to be here, waiting, like he always did?

I went outside and wandered amongst the flowerbed and trees outside the airport. After what seemed like an age but was only 15 minutes, I spotted him walking towards the airport. My heart lurched.

I can’t pretend a part of me wasn’t put out. But on the drive to his home, I reminded myself that he had warned me about this and I had repeatedly told him it was ok. I know there are things going on in his workplace.

Apart from that, the ride home was filled with laughter. He has a knack of making me laugh. It was so lovely to see his parents who had wanted to come with him to pick me up, and I hoped that this meant that their recent feud was passing.

When we arrived, I gave out presents and was happy they were so well received. He apologised that he hadn’t bought me anything. Again, I’m not materialistic and presents are not important to me. I didn’t expect one. And yet, when he said that – acknowledged it- it hurt.

And so, that inner voice is talking again. She’s been fed now and has the strength to whisper in my ear. My brain likewise is looking and finding evidence that what she says is true, because that is what our brains do.

She told me that his kisses were not passionate enough.

She told me that he didn’t sit close enough to me at dinner.

She whispered that he didn’t need to take his phone down to the car when he went to pick up the papers he had left.

I counter argued with the tender kiss he pressed on my neck as he moved past me as I looked out the window….

We had an amazing dinner – his mum had gone all out to make my favourite foods.

He then suggested we went to relax. We went to his room, cuddled, and soon intimacy followed. He laughed that he wouldn’t be able to sleep next to me as we would not get any sleep. See, I told her.

Later, we went to have tea and cake with his parents again before bed. He couldn’t do enough – checking I was OK, making sure I had everything I needed.

That’s being a good host, she said. He doesn’t have to do that, I replied.

I lay in bed and after 30 minutes he messaged, asking if I was OK. I replied I was, and told him I loved him. He sent a stream of hearts and kisses and hugs emoticons.

He hasn’t told you he loves you, yet, she pointed out.

I slept fitfully, waking repeatedly for no apparent reason. At 5am and got up to go to the toilet and went back to bed to read a little. I heard noises outside my room and felt a little guilty that I may have woken someone.

My door opened and he was there, asking if I was OK and saying that he couldn’t sleep too.

He climbed in to bed next to me and we bundled the blankets around us to keep out the cold. I instantly felt more content with him there and started to feel drowsy…until I was the opposite. What followed was the most tender and intimate love making we had ever had. We then lay together, limbs entwined. Even when he turned over, his legs wiggled back to find me and envelope mine.

See, I told her. He still hasn’t said he loves you, she replied. But hasn’t he just shown me? I exclaimed. Perhaps, she retorted.

Hearing his parents stirring, he got up to leave and gave me a kiss.

I wish my inner voice, my imposter, would just shut the hell up.

Crave

I should be used to the insomnia by now, but I’m not.

I dread going to bed because I know I will lie there and think of him. And my situation.  Equally, I dread going to sleep because of how often I dream about school. No closure there then.

I’m not sure why I posted my last post. I mean, yes, those thoughts and feelings were valid at the time of writing. It’s funny how you see things differently after a sleep. Or seven, in this case.

Wildcard, unfortunately, wasn’t seeing anything differently. Ever since that last outburst- which was 100% my fault – he’s been off. Yes, I know, we’ve been here before. And yes, I’m probably being a little oversensitive/paranoid/self absorbed but he half admitted it last night. He also keeps saying “so, you’re starting again…” which is a bit of a give away. I haven’t started anything …in the past week.

Of course, at this time of year, everyone starts evaluating and analysing their life. I’ve recognised just how hard this year has been for me and I’m determined that next year I will be more positive and proactive. Mel Robbins is leading the way in my thinking and I highly recommend you looking her up if you want some excellent coaching and life advice. I’ve been dipping in and out over the past 18 months but I’m committed to seeing things through to the end this time.

Some of her advice hits a little hard at times, mainly because you realise she is right. A lot of my ‘issues/anxieties’ with Wildcard are actually anxieties about myself. It’s not his place to make me feel good about myself, neither consciously or subconsciously. More and more I’m realising that I have to start loving myself and who I am. I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm at the moment. Things are ok, but I have some real tough decisions to make. I need to trust myself and my judgement. 

Whatever this was with Wildcard has blown over now. He often tells me that he just needs time and he will soon forget – he laments his terrible memory. I, on the other hand seem to store things in my head to make inaccurate equations with later.

My London friend’s words are still rattling around. I thought my conversation with Wildcard mid-December had banished them, but apparently not. They’ve been resurrected now more times than a tacky Hollywood villain.

My head just can’t seem to process my current situation. I do suffer from anxiety and due to previous relationships, I have anxious attachment. But there are fundamental things that my head can’t figure out. Like…

We’re in a long distance relationship – do these things just take longer? How is covid impacting on what would have happened? Are we following his culture or mine in this? Or, is he just commitment phobic and I’m being stupidly dragged along? Or, am I putting on too much pressure because of my own low self esteem – I need his formal commitment to make myself feel valued? My London friend thinks he is just waiting for someone better to come along. It’s easy to believe that when you dislike yourself.

My biggest problem is I cannot trust my own judgement any more.  It is affecting every area of my life. I thought I was a good teacher. I thought I was doing well. I thought I had finally ‘cracked’ the weight loss. I thought I had got myself in to good habits. I thought I had found the love of my life and dreamed of him being with me and being a family.

I love him exactly the way he is – I love everything about him. And yet sometimes I crave more, but I know this is more about my insecurity and self esteem than anything else. What I crave is confirmation that I am not imagining anything- he loves me, completely.  We will be together one day. In these moments, it doesn’t matter how many times he has called me or told me he loves me. My mind craves more.

Problem is, I’m never satiated because it’s coming from the wrong person. It needs to come from me. What I mean by that is he tells me he loves me, every day. He shows me he loves and misses me, every day. I know that. But I’ve recognised that when I’m feeling insecure and anxious, I crave the ridiculous over the top stuff. But that isn’t him: I just want it because of how I feel.

It is not the first time I’ve thought something along those lines. I remember writing a post about how my past relationships had caused me to be anxious – it wasn’t my fault! – but I’m a toy train on a circular track. I stop at the same stations, only to move on and come around again. I’m hoping this real focus on coaching, such as that by Mel Robbins, will help me change the tracks and send soothe my cravings.

Enough (cont from previous post)

How to explain?

I told him that my last trip with him was the happiest I had been. I was so happy.

But that trip had signalled a ‘mental’ end. For me, I had decided that once I got back there would be no more relaxing and dilly-dallying. No. It was time to start work.

When that didn’t happen (my DBS wasn’t back), I faltered. I mourned not being with him and the life I wanted with him. But I couldn’t motivate myself wholeheartedly to do much else. Whilst I couldn’t explain this to him as eloquently as I have just now, he understood. He told me not to worry – I would be working soon. He told me to fill my time, and my mind, with other work. He’s always right.

I continued. And then…and then there was the incident with my London friend. I hadn’t told him what she had said but he pressed me and so I did. 

This was hard to explain – naturally, he took the affront and felt that she (and I) were accusing him of being bad and of not loving me.

But that isn’t it. I told him that I know he is a good man. Her words, her belief that I was an option actually made me feel bad on me. That I wasn’t good enough. The reason he hasn’t made a commitment or a decision was that I wasn’t good enough.

“Did I say that? Have I ever said that to you? You must understand my thinking.”

He was angry with her for inserting herself so negatively in our relationship. He talked of his culture and the ‘white thread’ that family brought to support a couple when they were struggling.

He said there were no problems between us.  That he just needed time to get everything right where he was, before he made the final move to commitment and leaving his country.

He told me…he told me that he had never met a woman like me before. He told me that I was beautiful and gentle and a good woman, and that his parents had said the same. He said he was the bad one – he didn’t do half of what I did for him and so I had no reason to think bad of myself. When I asked him why he didn’t, and I say that not because I want him to do those things but out of curiosity, he said he wasn’t in the position to do it. It wasn’t his way and I knew his situation. (I repeat, I don’t expect those things from him. I don’t need gifts as such. I perhaps just need a symbol.)

He talked about how we shared our life, and how we had done so for two years now. He told me he had never spent so much virtual time with a woman, none of his ex girlfriends. And I was the only one who knew his family – didn’t I realise that was something special?

That is what he had given me, I concluded. Not a token. He had made the decision to give me his life, of a fashion. Outside of me, and his parents, and his Instagram aspirations he does little else. This isn’t a man going out all the time. He rarely goes anywhere.

I am enough. He told me I am enough. What actually said is that I’m better than, more than that.

So….

Enough already. Stop with the mopsing and the worrying and the overthinking.

I am enough.

Options

Re-read that. Just let it sink in a little.

So went my conversation with my London friend a few days after my last post.

I’ve floated about in no man’s land ever since.

Long Distance Relationships are hard. Most people don’t believe in them or trust them. They can be isolating. There’s lots of advice out there telling you to ‘continue to live your life’ and I do. But you don’t want to miss a minute with your other half, set in the knowledge that this is all you have.

My London friend is in her own LDR with a man from the same country as Wildcard. So you can imagine the effect these conversations have had on me.

I haven’t been the same with Wildcard since. Or her for that matter. Her words play on loop in my mind whenever I speak to him. It’s not that I think she is right. It’s just that she could be. She found an anxiety I already had and amplified it. Now I can’t drown out the noise.

Without telling him what she has said, we have talked about our situation. And equally, some of what he says could be true too. I can’t underplay how much of an upheaval moving to the UK would be. He talks of starting at zero, nothing, of having to rely on me. He talks of leaving his parents alone, his career, his car, his friends.

And this is where the sharp edge of words come in to force – I am an option.

Whether he loves me or not, I am still an option. One that he hasn’t yet decided on.

He says he wants to be with me. He just hasn’t decided yet. For me there is no option: I don’t want anyone else. The course of our life isn’t decided though and there are decisions we need to make together. I suspect that his culture has brought him up to believe that he makes the decisions. I can’t be sure.

(She also says I make too many excuses for him)

Yesterday he posted a video on social media of him and his cousin’s little girl. It was cute. Adorable. He looked happy. And sexy.

And herein lies the next problem. If he waits much longer to make his ‘decision’ the option to have a baby may be taken away from us. I’m not getting any younger.

How long do I wait, then?

At what point do I realise that he is never going to commit, and move on? Or do I wait for him to find a better option and leave me?

He can’t win, really. If he had proposed too soon (which isn’t soon for his culture) my family and friends would have had the visa thief banners out. If he doesn’t propose then people accuse him of not actually loving me and seeing me as a option.

When is the right time? What time is actually acceptable?

Monday is our two year anniversary of meeting. Two whole years of multiple daily video chats. But I have only spent just over 4 weeks with him in person. He hasn’t physically met any of my family, including my children.

Am I making excuses again?

Tonight, as I dropped off my children, it occurred to me that I will be spending another weekend alone. That if I had someone closer, I would have arranged a date with him. Instead, I’m alone. I’ve had my videochat and we have said goodnight.

***********

As seems to be the way nowadays, I write a post, pause so I can edit and then….I don’t. So this update comes two days later on a bright Monday morning.

Saturday came and went. I couldn’t tell you what I did exactly. Half heartedly cleaned the house and fed my children – which is pretty much what I’ve done for the last six months – until it was time for them to go to their Dad’s.

Yesterday I was alone. I lazed in bed until a ridiculous hour, because, why not? And then, in a fit of frenzy, I decided to put some makeup on for the first time in a week and get the hell out of the house. I took myself off to a local pop up artisan fair – spent money I don’t have, reminisced about all the fairs I had done with my dad, considered whether I could actually start my own business this way and annoyed Wildcard because he couldn’t understand why I had all of a sudden put a face full of make up on to go to a market. He got over it.

I don’t mind his controlling behaviours. And the reason for that, is that I am actually stronger than he (and my London friend) think. He has never stopped me from going anywhere I really wanted to go. His sulking bemused me and makes me feel wanted. Once his own insecurities are resolved by showing him that yes, I did go out to a market wearing that make up alone, he relaxes. It’s no different to how I feel when he goes out wearing his sexy black jumper and dark blue jeans.

In the evening we had our usual chat and we discussed my anxiety with the slow start of my tutoring. He reminded me that there was a lot I could be doing (and what had I been doing for the past six months?) Whilst I waited. Whilst joking, he managed to call me out on a lot of my behaviours this last few months. Whether he realised he was doing this or not, I don’t know. But it set off a series of truth fireworks in my mind.

Seeing my distress, he probed my feelings. He said I hadn’t been the same since I had returned from my last visit. He asked why, what was wrong?

How to explain?

Read my next post to find out.

Lost in…

The day of my departure.

I’m packed and ready to go. I was determined to not be an over anxious mess this time. Not sure how successful I’ve been.

Last night I just felt numb. I was quiet and brooding though I tried not to be. Part of me was sulking too I guess. It was my last night there and I wanted something. When I was a child, the last night of a holiday was always a big deal. You’d go out for a meal or go somewhere special to mark the end of a great trip – go out with a bang I should say. It’s not that I wanted or needed to go out. I think I just wanted some recognition.

I suppose I need to remember that Wildcard may not see things that way. From what I gather, his experiences of holidays have been camping for the summer in his family’s village. He told me that as he and his brothers got older, they hated going. Not quite the same then.

But then, I guess I want to see that he is feeling it too – she’s going home, I’m going to miss her. Let’s make the most of it. But there was nothing to mark this. After sitting in the lounge for a while whilst he continued with his usual routine – the occasional ‘Are you ok?’ ‘What’s wrong?’ punctuating the silence, I got up and went to my room, heart heavy and soul weary.

He shouted me and I ignored him. I had no energy to answer and I didn’t want to talk about it. Childish? Probably. I couldn’t help it – in my head he should feel the same and I shouldn’t have to explain everything.

Before long though he came to the room. He asked again what was wrong and then lay with me, his legs claiming me. He smacked my bottom occasionally. Tickled me a few times. In that way he was trying.

We were shouted for tea and apparently his mum noticed I wasn’t myself. I hate that, I tried to act normal, but that heavy feeling inside is hard to overcome.

And of course it is wrapped up in a multitude of other feelings. Fear he doesn’t reciprocate. Guilt over my children. Worry that we may split up and I never come back. Wonder that he still hasn’t made us official. Anger that I’m torturing myself again.

We drank our tea, said goodnight to his parents and I got ready for bed. When I went into my room he was stood at the window and I went to stand with him. He kissed my cheek and my forehead and I rested my head on his shoulder. We cuddled a little on the bed and he gently kissed every part of my face. But when he told me he was going to bed as he was tired, I couldn’t help the tears.

And I couldn’t explain. When he left me that night, my trip was over. I didn’t want him to leave. It’s not that I wanted sex (although I would never say no to him), I just didn’t want him to leave me. I managed to explain enough that I didn’t want him to go and I wanted him to be near, and could he stay just a little longer? So we talked a little and we cuddled and we kissed and eventually I had calmed enough to tell him to go to bed. Prioritising me enough not to go to bed when he was tired said enough to appease me.

He messaged not long after, telling me not to be sad and that he loved me. And with that I fell asleep.

At some time in the night I heard movement outside my room. I’m a light sleeper mostly, so anyone venturing to the bathroom will wake me. To my surprise, Wildcard came to my door. He’d had a bad dream about his Grandmother and couldn’t sleep. He came in, shut the blinds and cuddled up to me. We slept together for the rest of the night although neither of us sleeps well with someone else in the bed. It was magical though, and something we haven’t done since my very first trip in Feb 2019. I sent a thank you to his Grandmother. I have dreamed of her once too as she beckoned me to into her family, and I have no doubts that she had done this.

In the morning there was love and passionate and affection. Then he went to work, leaving me to shower and pack.

I started shaking about an hour after he left. I felt calmer than last time but the anxiety was coming from within my body, not my mind. His mother asked me for help and as I sat with her, I told her that I felt nervous. She asked me why and I started to weep. I couldn’t help it. She asked me again and so I told her.

‘I don’t want to leave Wildcard.’

She looked at me, confused, and asked me to repeat. I said it again but she still didn’t understand so she asked me to translate on my phone.

She then understood and told me not to be sad and she was sorry. She asked me if I loved him and I told her, yes a lot. So now she knows.

Later, once I was calm again. She told me that she had misunderstood me at first, and thought I had said ‘ I don’t want to live with Wildcard’. We laughed for ten minutes straight over that one and I felt better after it.

He came home from work and we all ate dinner before Wildcard and I lay on his bed and just cuddled. I may have wept a little.

At the airport he sat with me for nearly 45 minutes until it was time to drop my bag. I told him to go, but he didn’t.

I’m lost in him. I’m lost without him. I don’t know when I’m going back. I’m just…lost.

Actions speak louder than words

The beginning.

Yesterday was a long day. Very long. I dozed on each flight but you can’t escape that I had been awake over 24 hours before I arrived here.

My friend said that my third visit would feel different and it does. I told him on our last phone call that I could wait to kiss him and hug him. He didn’t say much in reply. I could say that he was driving….but he didn’t reply.

As I came in to land I decided to stop putting pressure on this relationship and just enjoy it for what it is, as it is now. As I said in my last post, now is all we have.

We messaged as I entered the airport but there were no calls as usual. Again, I pushed the negative emotions back.

When I saw him I had the flare of otherness, of excitement, of love and of nerves. He was dressed more informally than last time. I pushed them back again.

He took my case and greeted me with a kiss on each cheek, we then started to walk to the car. It was easy, comfortable. He teased me as normal and I could not feel any nerves between us. It felt really good. Comfortable, natural. Like coming home.

We arrived at his house and I ran to hug his mum. I then went to his/my room to unpack a little and settle. We seemed to almost dance around his room as we both settled and changed. But there were no hugs or kisses. Worry started to creep in.

I was silly to. As everything and everyone settled, probably ten minutes there, he held me – squeezed me – and kissed me so passionately. And then I knew that everything was OK. More than OK.

We had a delicious dinner and we settled into a comfortable silence as we all ate. Then after dinner, we went to his room.

And then there was passionate kissing and touching and love making – and it felt like love, every second of it.

Everything feels so easy this time. Normal and yet special. I’m really happy.

Actions really do speak louder than words.

Confused but not crying

Those who know me or who have been reading my posts for a while will know that I have a little epiphany from time to time. It’s like the jumble of thoughts that are in my head finally clear and everything fits into place.

That is not to say I won’t get anxious about Wildcard again – I will. My anxiety is a part of me as much as my freckles are: whilst they almost disappear sometimes, in other times they are vibrant and unmissable. So it will be, I guess, with my anxiety.

It is also hard not to let familiarity and ‘routine‘ (and I say that for want of a better word) continue. This is some of what I read about and watched a few days ago… I’m anxious about a certain thing. I allow myself to think about it repeatedly, unchecked. My brain registers that and almost comes to expect it. So then my brain will look out for signs and reminders for me so I continue thinking about it. And so on. This is my daily life and what my brain expects and plans for.

I need to re-route my brain.

I need to let my dreams of the future be the focus of my thoughts but not of a future with him.

Wow that hurts.

But I have no control over that future and until he is ready to talk about it at least, I can’t keep dreaming about something he may not want or may never happen. No, instead I need to dream about a life for me.

Today has been a great day with him. The tension has lifted and it was like we were back to how we were a few months ago – before his family troubles, the sad loss of his grandmother, covid-visit stress and the recent arguments. We laughed today, a lot.

Pexels

I wrote the above yesterday. This morning I have waved off my sisters and my youngest as they go on a little trip with a family friend. They offered to take him months ago as we thought I would be going to see Wildcard. Huh.

As I predicted, my buoyancy has waned a little. The anxiety is at bay but my overthinking isn’t.

Whilst sitting drinking coffee with my brother in law and our friend this morning, he asked for an update on Wildcard and my return to his country.

I could hear myself trying to explain what happened. I heard myself say that when he first gave me his reasons I couldn’t understand but subsequent discussions have clarified it for me. In short, I heard myself explaining away the situation. Neither of them knew what to say. Our friend said “but surely he wants you to come when you can?” which of course were my sentiments too. I tried to explain how he worries and overthinks. It sounded a little like excuses to my own ears, even though I know it is true.

I’m so stuck between thinking that he isn’t ready to commit, isn’t sure about me or that I’m rushing things and putting pressure on through my anxiety and in typical female fashion of wanting commitment and a label, yesterday.

I’ve been with him for 21 months and we have talked multiple times every single day

But I have only visited him, seen him in person, twice for a total of three weeks.

I believe we are in a serious relationship, but not yet serious enough for us to discuss our future.

A commitment in this long distance relationship is bigger than a normal relationship. He is commiting to starting again career wise, moving away from his family and friends, moving to a new country.

He is still calling, still wants to be with me but just wants breathing time between visits.

His parents like me and want me to come. He would allow me to come in August even though he would prefer it to be delayed.

Yesterday he asked me to remind him to do something in early September.

Am I holding out for something that will never happen? Or am I letting my anxiety and insecurity ruin something good?

Confused, but not crying. Is this progress?

Time

The days have continued to be eventful but weirdly, I have been relatively calm.

I’ve got into a nasty habit of checking in on three apps multiple times a day. Probably boredom. Facebook, WordPress and my email account.

Occasionally, when really bored, I will watch some of the weird videos on Facebook. I say weird, but actually, I found my favourite motivational speaker on there: Mel Robbins.

So, two days ago, and I don’t know how else to explain this, I watched a series of videos and read a series of articles that made something shift in my brain. It was a combination of posts and videos from different motivational speakers who actually said a similar thing. It was about taking action on your dreams and the power of visualisation. It made sense. As a depressed or anxious person, you dwell or ruminate on the negative. Therefore you feel negative. Such a simple concept really and not one I haven’t read before but somehow the triad of approaches made something click.

The articles I read were actually about narcissism. I hate the way society jumps on a bandwagon and there seems to be an obsession or trend with narcissists and red flags. Anyway, following my London friend’s query about whether Wildcard may be narcissistic, I had to look into it.

He does have traits – maybe we all do – but not all. I don’t believe he is a narcissist, nor am I qualified to label him, but again the fact that he had traits made something shift in my brain.

So that evening, in the silence created by the dying embers of his sulking, I decided to broach the subject of the summer. If you remember, I have my original flights for August – the ones I booked months ago before my impromptu trip in July as he had spoken of us travelling maybe. I have one week to change them. So, I broached it.

He was shocked, bordering on contemptuous. I could tell you how this disagreement covered two days but I won’t bore you. I will try to be succinct.

He couldn’t understand why I wanted to come back so soon. When I reminded him of what he had said, the ‘come when you want’, the ‘come next month’ and the travelling, he denied it. After some miscommunication resolving, I understood the following:

  • ‘Come next month’ was said to me when I was upset to calm me but he never expected me to actually do it.
  • The travelling trip was an either-or. By coming in July, the possibility of the trip was cancelled.
  • He didn’t want me to come in July and had always wanted me to come in August.

There was talk of it being too soon, he needed to relax between visits. He said his brothers may be visiting and he may be travelling with extended family.

I didn’t cry. Can you believe that? I was strong. I was angry even. I was…more like myself. It was also my turn to sulk. I told him he clearly didn’t miss me like I missed him. That I had assumed he would want to see me whenever we could, like me. That I clearly wasn’t that important to him.

He said it had nothing to do with missing me – if that was the case, he would want me there every month. He talked of needing to ask his parents again and I told him not to bother. I’d had my answer.

Of course he did anyway, and they were happy for me to return though it was clear he still wasn’t and the call ended on a sour note.

However, ten minutes later, he had messaged me apologising. His parents had apparently shouted at him for not letting me come. They were happy for me to come. He said that he would speak to his brothers and let me know. I told him that if he didn’t want me to come so soon, I wouldn’t. He replied that we would speak tomorrow.

I still didn’t cry. Sure there were times when my eyes threatened it, but I didn’t cry. I am not sure I can explain why. It is possible that because my mind has been consumed with him and dreams of our future, the thought that this may not happen has contributed to my anxiety. Perhaps the realisation that he isn’t perfect, that maybe he does have narcissist traits and that this had led me to feel this way (both good and bad) has cleared my mind a little. The realisation that actually, my imperfections may not lead my to losing the man of my dreams but a man I had dreamed about and idealised. That it can be his imperfections which may end it, not mine, has contributed to my mind shift.

Yesterday, after work, we spoke again at length in an attempt for me to understand him. He was stressed and agitated. He reiterated his parents liking me and being happy for me to come. But then proceeded to both explain why he thought it was too soon but also to tell me that he would speak to his brothers.

In summary, what I have gathered is, me coming causes a certain amount of pressure and stress which is not unwelcome but he wants a break. I also think there are financial implications which he hinted at but denied when questioned. It was an either or – July or August – and the July trip caused him a lot of worry about me. He feels a return in October or November is better but if I want to come I can come at the end of August. He said I wasn’t thinking of him and his family and only of myself and my desire to be with him. I argued that I only thought I could return so soon based on his words which have turned out to be false in an attempt to calm me.

Despite his determination for me to understand him, he has repeatedly said he will speak to his brothers. I keep telling him I won’t come.

In a weird way, this has kind of cleared the air and eased my tension. I can’t pretend I’m not a little hurt, but my anxiety has eased. The truth has settled my overriding ruminating.

In discussions with two of my Facebook friends, we have all concluded that he just needs more time for whatever reason. He wasn’t ready to talk about our future and he is not ready for me to come regularly. Despite his courteous assurances that I am family, I am in fact still a guest and I knew that really.

I’ve done that typically insecure thing of jumping on a suggestion, a possibility, letting my desires and dreams take over and then panicked when they didn’t come into fruition. They were my dreams, not his. We haven’t got to the point of discussing and deciding upon our dreams together.

This morning, it is like the world has shifted. We have gone back to normal, back to the way we used to be – an hour’s call of me laughing at him and him laughing because I am. The pressure has lifted, and if I am being honest, it is the pressure that I had applied.

I’m some ways, and this is real far out thinking, I feel like we have passed a test almost. One of my biggest fears has always been that I am like his exes – completely in love with him whilst he is happy but with no real intentions. I am aware that each of his exes hit the point of demanding a decision, a formalisation of the relationship. Every time he has ended the relationship. In a sense, I have done the same thing. The difference is, he hasn’t ended it. I know I am different to them. And this has now confirmed it. But at the same time, I must not make their mistakes and chase and pressure him. I need to have faith in our relationship now and let time to what it needs to.

He needs time. We need time. And at last, I don’t see that as a bad thing.

Day 12/13 – in the night

For me, thinking of any kind leads only to more thinking. I sometimes wish I could just switch my brain off.

Yesterday, after questioning me, I opened up to Wildcard and asked about what’s next. I explained that I had flights I needed to move and asked how I should proceed. He looked genuinely surprised that I needed to ask. He repeated that I can come when I want etc etc. I said no, does he want me to come? He replied, “I want you to come.” Despite some gentle probing/suggesting, there was little more said.

Yes, he was unwell, but he spent most of the afternoon on the sofa. I sat with him a while but started to feel in the way. I asked him, and he said I was crazy and that I didn’t need to go anywhere.

Hours passed though. I suggested we watched a film together ‘or something’ and he half agreed. But when I came back from the kitchen he had started to watch his TV series.

I once read something that said there is a part of your brain that wants you to be happy. So when you get a thought in your head, this part of your brain actively searched for evidence, manipulates evidence, to make that thought true.

And so it was with me. He doesn’t want to watch anything with me. He’s bored. I’m invading his space. He didn’t want me to come. He’s not even touching me now. Should I try to go home earlier?

And so on.

Eventually, I went into the bedroom and got my laptop out. That way, I was giving him the space he may have wanted or, if he chose, he could come to find me and we could watch something. It beat just sitting there.

After a few moments his mother called as she had made fresh orange juice. We sat together, but once finished he lay back down to watch his series. I stayed there for five or ten minutes then went back into the bedroom.

Not long after I heard his mum speaking to Wildcard and he shouted me. I came out and his mum disappeared. It appears she had questioned him on why we were not sitting together. He asked if I was angry at him and I said no, but I just wanted to do something with him. He reminded me he was ill and asked,what? What did I want to do? He didn’t feel like watching a film.

His mum returned with tea and cake and there was a heated conversation between them. I drank tea but there was an atmosphere. We talked a little and then it was time for bed.

He kissed me tenderly, repeatedly, and asked if I was angry or sad. I said no, and so he said goodnight.

But I was. I was now convinced that whilst he has feelings for me, they’re not of the depth or intensity of mine. He probably didn’t want to say anything whilst I was there but that it would probably come when I went home.

I was being childish and sulky but I felt genuinely sorry for myself. I reflected that I didn’t think I was a challenging girlfriend (you may beg to differ) as what I wanted was simple. I don’t need expensive gifts or fancy restaurants. All I want is to feel loved, every day. I want to feel, that in his eyes at least, I am beautiful and wanted. That I am his. That’s all.

Whilst my brain could find some evidence of that, at that moment it wasn’t enough. So I cried. And I felt sorry for myself. And I accepted that once again, I felt more for someone than they did for me. I felt my cloud nine dreams come crashing down around me and my heart ached. Maybe my friend was right – I’d put him on a pedestal. My attraction to him was making me feel like I was punching above my weight and that was making me feel insecure. She told me he was lucky to have me and that I should be patient and have faith. I was feeling none of this.

During this time he had messaged asking if I was OK, and I had said yes. There was no point going over everything again.

Not having washed my make up off and crying had led to stinging eyes and, sniffling a little, I went to the bathroom to wash my face. He heard me and shouted and I said I was OK, just washing my face. He continued to call me. I dried my eyes and feeling I’d hidden my tears the best I could, went to him.

He knew, as well as I did that I had been upset. But I didn’t see the point in trying to talk anymore. I had come, we’d had fun, but I wasn’t who he wanted in his future. That was what I had decided.

You know, I hate writing about this. I hate describing my flaws in all their depressing glory. My childishness. My weakness. But I have to, to learn and to purge.

We had the usual to-ing and fro-ing. Him trying to get me to speak, me refusing. He lay on the put-up bed on the floor and I stood at the foot of it, my arms crossed protectively around my body. I must have looked pathetic.

Eventually, too tired to fight any longer, I sat on the sofa. He stood and sat next to me. Now, the following day, I realise how close he sat to me but at the time I was oblivious, so wrapped up in my own woe.

Gently, gently, he questioned me.

I told him that I was sad because I had accepted the truth. That he didn’t feel the same as I did. I told him I knew he loved me and cared for me but that it wasn’t same.

He asked how I felt then. I told him I was completely in love with him and I accepted that his love was not the same as mine.

He asked how did I know that? Who had told me that? I said he had. I had asked him how he felt and he couldn’t tell me. I wanted to know about our future, if he wanted to be with me, if he was happy with me. If he was glad I had come. If we were serious. And he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me. In my eyes, that only meant something bad.

He told me I was crazy – “you are here now, with my family”. How did I know he didn’t love me the same? I told him I tried to be a good girlfriend but I couldn’t make him love me more. He replied that I was a good girlfriend and I knew he loved me.

In an anxious state, I can’t look at the person I’m upset with. I was staring ahead, or at my hands that were wringing. He kept pulling my hands apart and placing them down away from each other. If I started to claw at my pyjamas, he would put a hand on top to stop me. He told me to look at him, that I must look at him when we are talking. But when I looked at him, I just felt overwhelming love. I wanted to drown in him, and kiss him, and float away on my dreams of our life together.

His eyes were kind, smiling almost. He held me, and whispered in my ear that he loved me and he wanted to be with me.

He genuinely couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I tried to explain. I told him that I didn’t trust my own judgement of how he felt and that I needed to be told. I told him that I knew his ex-girlfriends had loved him and that he had been happy with them for a while but I was scared he wouldn’t want a future with me like he didn’t with them. I said I wanted to be different.

He told me I was different – I was here now, they weren’t. I was here with him and his family- they weren’t. He said how he had driven three hours to take me to the beach, just to make me happy. He told me again and again, “you know I love you”.

Eventually, we parted. He took me to my room and kissed me again and again. And laughed and called me crazy. He made me promise I wasn’t going to cry again. I promised, and I didn’t.

This morning he came to me and we made love. And that is how it feels now – our bodies now familiar, the adrenalin of time apart ebbing away – now is just love and pleasure.

I have two and a half days left. I’m determined to be bright and cheerful and to try to not worry. This morning I hate myself for my errant thoughts, my fears and my doubts and my crying. I can’t do anything else now. I have told him and showed him how I feel. I can do no more. So I must enjoy my last days with him and pray that what is meant to be, will be and hope that actually what is happening is this…

I hope that in typical male/female fashion, he loves me but can’t tell me. And that I love him and I can’t stop telling him and that is the only problem between us.

To my love,

I know I’ve been different these last few weeks. Probably months. We have both been through some tough times, haven’t we?

I can not tell you how many times I have wished to be alongside you through your dark days, supporting you. I hope you have felt that I have tried, despite being so far away.

And you, you have a way of talking sense, even though you don’t always fully understand my situation. You make me laugh, show great patience. I hope you know how much I appreciate that.

You have said from the beginning that this relationship would be hard. Long distance relationships are by nature. The time apart is hard, and all the heightened emotions that come with that. And then, for us, there are cultural differences which are not so much a problem for me and you but are for others – our governements included.

And then…covid. Covid has kept us apart for over a year now. So what was always going to be a challenging situation is now even more difficult. The building hope of a visit and the devastation of another cancelled trip. Not knowing when we can be together. Not knowing where this relationship is going – it is on pause, almost.

I wouldn’t change my time with you though. I would rather have this than anything or anyone else. Our time has created a love so deep, so powerful that we have survived life’s ups and downs and are thriving through Covid’s restrictions.

Ironically though, for me, a love like that comes with a fear of losing it. Our relationship is so precious to me and I am so grateful that I have found it that I am perpetually scared it will be taken away from me.

No doubt, some of this comes from how I feel about myself and my confidence. You are so wonderful, that I can’t help but think that you deserve more. Someone more beautiful, someone younger. I can’t understand what you see in me, perhaps. In turn, this fear and low self worth means that at times I act in a way which could jeopardise what we have. I doubt and question and test. I need constant reassurance that this is real, my love is returned equally. That you feel the same…you still want me.

Time should have proved that to me, I know that. But time has a sneaky way of adding to those fears too. After 18 months of daily contact, albeit online, it is not surprising that we have fallen into an easy life together. The honeymoon period over, perhaps. I crave the look of desire you once gave me, the times you told me I looked beautiful. Even the times you asked if I loved you, missed you…

It is a normal part of every relationship, I know that. What makes it harder for us – well, me – is that the distance means I don’t have the other parts. The cuddles and kisses. Holding hands. Sitting together, thighs touching. You stroking my hair or putting your hand on my back to guide me as we walk. The knowing smile and look in your eyes as we gazed at each other over dinner, a reminder of the love we had just made or the promise of what was happen next when we were alone. All things that I loved in that one week we were together.

The distance makes me need this more. My insecurity and fear makes me crave this more. The time apart and the difficulties we have individually faced make this essential for me.

I know you love me. I know it in your actions and how you tell me every day. I know you miss and want me in how many times you call and your perseverance in this relationship. And yet, at times, I crave more. I can’t have the physical so I need need words – out loud, spelled out. I know that’s not fair to expect from you. It is not like you don’t say it. And you shouldn’t have to say it more just to appease me.

As time has gone on, and disappointment and missed time together (covid, grrrr) has plagued our relationship, I’ve found that I am scared to dream of our future. I once pictured you here. I dreamed a life for us. Now, it seems too much to hope.

We have talked about it enough for me to know you are waiting until we are.physically together to talk everything through and make decisions. I respect you for that, don’t disagree with your plan. This is the rest of our lives and there is a lot to discuss. It is absolutely right that this should be in person after spending more physical time together.

But the anticipation is killing me. The not knowing, the questioning and guessing and wondering… all not-good for an insecure overthinker like me. And as time goes on, I fear that I will do something to make you not want me anymore. Or that someone better or easier will take you from me.

And to see others reunited…getting married…that is hard. I want so much for that to be us. To know that you want that, me, as much as I want you. To know the difficult beginning is just that, just the start of something wonderful.

I want a life with you. I want to give you a good life. Be there when you need me. I want the excitement of building a life together, you and me, making the best of this world. You inspire me to be better and I want the same for you.

I love you so much. I’m so grateful you are in my life. And I’m sorry for my fears and how they sometimes taint the good that we have.

Don’t give up on me baby.